How to Find the Right Interior Designer Program near Nikiski Alaska
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Nikiski AK, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But just where do you begin? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Nikiski AK can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Nikiski AK interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Nikiski AK. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Nikiski AK homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Nikiski AK residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Nikiski AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Nikiski AK college you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Nikiski AK business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Nikiski AK colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Nikiski AK schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Nikiski home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Nikiski AK, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Right Nikiski Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Nikiski Alaska.